When you talk about The Glades, you talk about the soil – as rich and dark as espresso grounds. You talk about the Muck Bowl and how Glades Central High School has a long-standing history of NFL and NCAA recruitment. You talk about Zola Neale Hurston and her seminal novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.
But if you know The Glades? If you’ve been there and met the people who call it home – you talk about community.
Closely-knit and family-oriented with a majority African-American population (56%), the cities of Belle Glade and Pahokee have shared a connection with Community Partners for over 20 years and in honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting our special relationship with the families in The Glades as we strive to Change the Odds together.
In 1996, Community Partners started the Glen Glades Youth Enrichment Academy. Serving approximately 70 children annually, the after-school program continues today at Pioneer Park Elementary School. The success of the program was so great that we replicated it in the neighboring city of Pahokee five years later and now with 120 students, we have almost doubled how many children we serve.
In addition to the Academies, Community Partners started a mentoring program at Pioneer Park Elementary School. We have matched over 25 mentors to mentees who learn, play and grow together.
Our biggest presence in The Glades is with our BRIDGES sites. Funded by the Children’s Services Council, BRIDGES at Belle Glade and BRIDGES at Pahokee have been a mainstay of the community since 2010 and together, serve approximately 500 families each year. BRIDGES families gather at our sites to connect with one another and local resources which ensure health, empowerment, education and support.
Community Partners’ holistic model of blending housing, community and therapy services has been implemented with great success in The Glades. In addition to the aforementioned community services, Community Partners has also established child and family therapy services in the area as well as an outpost for our Positive Parenting Program which sees about 150 parents every year.
One of the cornerstones of a stable and self-sufficient community is affordable housing. We believe that every family deserves a safe place to call home and raise their families. Our First Time Homebuyers Program has been operating in The Glades for over 20 years. This program works in tandem with our Prosperity Center. Operational in the community since 2009, our Prosperity Center in Belle Glade offers the IDA Program - a matched-savings program which offers closing costs and down payment assistance for the First Time Homebuyer as well as financial counseling services and assorted financial workshops. This program sees about 100 clients every year and during tax season when free VITA tax preparation services for eligible residents are offered, that number jumps to 500 clients.
We are proud to partner with the families in The Glades and celebrate them as they work to Change The Odds for themselves, their families and the future.